When I was starting out I turned to books, magazines, and the Internet to read or watch video interviews of successful producers. It’s interesting to hear producers in their own words discuss their personal experiences and advice making movies. Sharing both their triumphs and failures until they finally made a name for themselves in the film industry.
There were some pearls of wisdom an aspiring producer could learn, but then it hit me. Overall the producers being interviewed were major Hollywood players or producers on the rise working with six figure budgets.
These producers had production and development deals already firmly in place with studios and production companies for their next projects. Some top Hollywood producers are given offices on major studio lots to develop projects where budgets can range from 2 million (considered ultra low by Hollywood standards) to well over 100 million. As an aspiring producer back then, I couldn’t relate to a majority of their views on producing.
I wasn’t in their shoes, but wanted to keep working to get there. Every self-made producer has to pay his or her dues to make it in the movie business. I hadn’t paid mine yet. At that time, I hadn’t even produced a single film. I decided to seek out a few people that had produced a movie before to get real answers.
It was a scene straight out of a romantic comedy where a lovesick guy asks advice from his friends on how to win back the love of his life. In return he gets ten different answers on how to do it.
It didn’t happen right away, but it eventually sunk in that the different answers ands words of advice I learned were only guidelines on what a producer did to make a movie. Then it was crystal clear to me these guidelines adjusted depending on a producer’s status within Hollywood, the budget of a project, and their track record.
The producer of a multimillion-dollar project and the producer of a smaller budget indie project follow different guidelines, including different duties, different circumstances, different goals and entirely different working environments. This is indie filmmaker Sid Kali typing FADE TO BLACK:
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